Have a great Memorial Day! Don’t forget to thank the veterans for protecting and serving you!
“Come let us cross the river and rest under the shade of the trees.” Those were Thomas “Stonewall” Jonathon Jackson’s last words here on earth For you see on May 10, 1863 Jackson died. This article is not about his death, but there is a story behind Jackson’s last words that is linked to his childhood. I will address that later on in the article though.
Thomas Jonathon Jackson was born January 21, 1824. His father’s name was Jonathon and his mother was Julie Neale Jackson. As a child Laura (the youngest child) and Thomas were very close. Thomas would build little bridges for his sister to cross over the creek at their home in Clarksburg (West) Virginia. These bridges were the beginning of Jackson’s engineering skills. This is also what historians believe Jackson was alluding to on is death bed. The quiet serenity of his play place is likely where his mind wandered during his delirium, back to the shade of the trees.
Both of Thomas’s parents died when he was young . His father, an attorney, died along with his sister Elizabeth in 1826 when Jackson was 2. His mother died when he was 7, in 1831 his mother died of Typhoid Fever. Jackson was now an orphan.
He was sent to live with his uncle Cummins Jackson, who was very strict on young Thomas. Even though his uncle had slaves Jackson worked along side them in the fields harvesting and planting. He also herded oxen and sheep. He got little education while living with his uncle. The majority of his education was self-taught. As was typical of many Americans of the day.
In June 1842 Thomas was appointed as a cadet to the United States Military Academy. Due to his poor schooling he had a harder time absorbing the material. He worked very, very hard and he graduated 17th in a class of 59 in 1846. He was in a class with many other future heroes such as George McClellan, George Pickett ( who graduated dead last in the class), and Ambrose Powell Hill. Jackson graduated as a 2nd lieutenant and went directly to the army. Thus beginning his illustrious military career.